Today's Update: Wednesday, April 15

April 15, 2020

Dear Student Life Team:

There are days I think I should put a padlock on my refrigerator. Especially on these cool, spring days, the food I have in my fridge and cupboards calls to me very loudly all day. Or as someone put it, “I need to be socially distanced from my refrigerator.” It’s an unintended consequence of working from home.  

My thoughts on this “Wellness Wednesday” turn to food. I don’t know about you, but I find myself craving comfort foods. It turns out that’s quite normal. Janele Bayless, Wellness Coordinator for Nutrition Education in the Student Life Student Wellness Center, has a blog called “Fuel for Life.”   

She points out that comfort foods remind us of our social ties and experiences. We may feel less alone and isolated when we eat foods like that. Certainly we are all missing social ties right now, so our interest in comfort foods is likely more than just sustenance.  

Student Life Dining Services’ Zia Ahmed always says that “unhealthy foods” is a misnomer. No foods on their own are inherently good or bad; trouble arises when we consume too much of any one thing. A double bacon cheeseburger won’t hurt most of us, but no one should eat one every day. In moderation, food should make us happy. 

As Janelle puts it in her blog, “If you’re feeling pressure to maintain your normal routine with food and physical activity as you would when there isn’t a pandemic, rest assured this unique time and transition won’t last forever. A few weeks of less-balanced eating won’t cause long-term health issues, so consider how you can integrate compassion for yourself and others.”  

Why compassion? Like kindness, it can help you feel better mentally. Focusing on gratitude and philanthropy can help reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, and help you feel more socially connected. It can also make you less likely to stress eat.  

One resource to consider as we make our way through this pandemic is the online series, “Staying Calm and Well in the Midst of the COVID-19 Storm.” The programs are live Wednesday afternoons at 12:30 and are archived online for later viewing. Student Life is one of the sponsors along with the Buckeye Wellness Team and others. Each week covers a different topic. Student Life Rec Sport’s Kathleen Hatch did one today on staying physically active while at home, and Student Life Dining Services’ Gina Forster will be presenting on balanced eating in stressful times and why it matters on May 20.  

Experts say there are good ways to avoid stress or mindless eating. Things like knowing what triggers you to eat and pre-portion your snacks can help. And, don’t deny yourself comfort food. Just don’t overdo it.  

I’m feeling better about my pizza, and chips and salsa. In moderation! 

There is no moderation in being Scarlet and Great. I’m grateful for that, and grateful for you and for all you’re doing.